According to our lineage (Parampara), the Brahma Sampradaya, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna is our ultimate ‘Guru’. We know that Sri Krishna explained the synopsis of Bhagavatam, the ‘Chatuh-Shloki’, the main four Sanaskrit texts of Srimad Bhagvatam to ‘Brahma’; then Brahma explained the same messages to ‘Narada’, a great sage in our lineage. Once, regarding Narada, Sri Krishna explained in ‘Bhagvata Gita Upanishad’ that amongst the sages, He is ‘Narada’; then ‘Narada’, explained the same messages to Vyasa Deva, then Vyasa Deva expanded the Chatuh Shloki with eighteen thousands Shlokas, twelve cantos and three hundred forty five chapters. In this manner, the teachings of Srimad Bhagvatam come down to us from ‘Sri Krishna’. Therefore, we can say that our ultimate Guru is Sri Krishna, and that presently, all qualified initiating Spiritual Masters are the representatives of Sri Krishna.
The real Spiritual Masters (Acharyas) teach us to serve Sri Krishna by example. We know that in Vrindavan, Srimati Radharani serves Sri Krishna by example. In this context, we can say that Spiritual Masters are actually the representatives of Srimati Radharani. We know from scripture that Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani are non-different from each other. Sri Krishna is the object of pleasure and Srimati Radharani is pleasure potency of Sri Krishna. Through this explanation, we can come to the conclusion that Srimati Radharani and our real Spiritual Master (Guru) both show us how to serve Sri Krishna by example, only for Sri Krishna’s pleasure. With this knowledge, we can then say that present real initiating Gurus are the representatives of Srimati Radharani, not Sri Krishna.
From the above explanation, we come to understand that in order to serve Sri Krishna, the role of initiating Guru and Srimati Radharani are both non-different. Also, Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani are both non-different. In regards to Sri Guru, Sri Radha and Sri Krishna, these three personifications are non-different amongst each other. Therefore Srila Vishwanath Chakravati Thakur, a ‘Rasika Acharya’ (teacher of Divine sweet mellow) composed a line in one of his sanskrit texts, “ Sakshada Dharitena Samasta Shastrai”. The inner meaning of this line is – as per the message of all scriptures; Guru is non-different from Lord Hari (another name of Sri Krishna).
In order to teach us the importance of serving ‘Guru’; the ultimate Guru, Sri Krishna manifested a pastime, while He was in the Gurukula (home of His Gurudeva) to study different subjects. Once the Guru of Sri Krishna, Sandipanimuni, sent Sri Krishna and Sudama both into the deep forest to collect fire wood. Sudama was one of the students in the Gurukula and he was friend of Sri Krishna. While Sri Krishna and Sudama were collecting wood in the forest suddenly a huge storm with rain, lightening and thunder came upon them and these natural calamities did not allow them to return to the Gurukula. They were stuck in the forest for an entire day and night. In order to protect the dry fire wood from rainwater, Sri Krishna kept the bundle of wood on his head under the protection of a big tree. The Guru, Sandiponi Muni became worried and went to search for them. Saniponi Muni was astonished to see Sri Krishna’s faith in performing His service. Sri Krishna’s whole night was spent keeping the bundle of dry wood on His head.
We may think, it is not important to render service in this modern Age; but the motive of our service is the most important to please the object of our service. The dry fire wood was needed to make a fire. If the bundle of dry wood were to become wet from rainwater, then it would be impossible to make a fire to cook with. Therefore, in order to keep the wood dry, Sri Krishna did not make any excuses because of the natural calamities of storm and rain. Here, Sri Krishna shows us the example of sincerity to maintain the words of Guru to “bring back the dry wood”. If we are able to follow this example of Krishna’s sincerity with our own present service, which we are getting from Guru’s instructions, then most definitely our Guru will be happy; and by extension we can be the cause of Krishna’s happiness as well.
In the above context, we have seen the sincerity of the ultimate Guru, Sri Krishna, in pleasing His Guru. Now we will see the sincerity of Srimati Radharani in pleasing Krishna. Actually, Radharani is the real Acharya of our lineage. Acharya means one who is teaching us how to serve Krishna by example. Here Radharani is serving Sri Krishna with the proper example of tolerance. Abhimanyu’s mother-in-law, Jatila Devi and sister-in-law, Kutala Devi (the Mother and Sister of Srimati Radharani) took a vow to dismantle Radharani’s chastity in the name Sri Krishna’s association. Although they tried to do this in a rough manner, nevertheless, Radharani never thought to leave Krishna’s association. In Vrindavan, Sri Krishna stays with Srimati Radharani eternally.
Here, I am trying to communicate a passtime in order to make you understand how Sri Krishna stays with Srimati Radharani eternally, as follows:
Once, Krishna was in a state of acute separation from Srimati Radharani, and he went to Javata in the guise of a mendicant, to the house of Jatila, in order to meet with Radharani. Usually Radharani, playing the role of a faithful wife, would never meet with any other man except her husband. Nonetheless, Jatila was not going to offend a mendicant guest, therefore she ordered to Srimati Radharani to go and offer some vegetables, fruit and grains to Him. Srimati Radharani with her face dutifully covered by a veil, went out and offered articles to the disguised mendicant form of Krishna. But a smile came to Her face when the mendicant declared that he was not interested in the food, but wanted her reciprocation. She quickly uncovered her veil and emptied the entire contents of the tray on the head of Sri Krishna. Krishna walked away, satisfied that he had seen his Srimati Radhika.
One more pastime which we have seen and relished is as follows.
In order to make Jatila feel comfortable, and free to send Radharani over to Nanda Bhavan, the palace of Nanda Maharaj, mother Yasoda was packed a lot of ornaments, fragrant creams, perfumes and precious stones in a box to send to Srimati Radharani. However, Krishna noticed her actions and quizzed her about it, and she remarked that when Abhimanyu came around, it was to be handed to him as a gift for Srimati Radharani. Soon after, Krishna and His friend Subal opened the box whilst His mother was immersed in her household chores, and removed all the costly perfumes and precious stones. Krishna crept into the box and Subal carefully closed the box. When Abhimanyu came, he was delighted to know that many precious stones had been gifted and he joyfully carried the box to Srimati Radharani. Later, when the Gopis opened the box, all of them became overwhelmed with surprised laughter when Sri Krishna emerged from the box, thus adding to Their bliss of Divine association.
It was not easy for Radharani to assist Sri Krishna in the eyes of Vedic society, but she showed us lots of tolerance in her rendering of service to Sri Krishna. Here, in the material world, we have no opportunity to serve Sri Krishna directly; but Radharani’s representative, in the form of ‘Guru’ (Spiritual Master) is with us to advise us as to how we can render service to Sri Krishna. Nowadays, our tendency is not to face any trouble for serving Guru; but we are ready to accept all types of trouble for continuing to support our sense enjoyment objects. We should keep in mind that anything that is spiritually beneficial for us can be filled with many obstacles. According to the instruction of ‘Guru’, serving Sri Krishna is the most beneficial for all of us; because Krishna will become very happy to see the mood of our service. Therefore, my humble request is for the reader to establish this service mood and make his or her life spiritually successful.
My spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj showed us such many examples for teaching us to serve ‘Guru’; even when he was physically unfit to render service on to his Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada.
My Spiritual Master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj showed us many examples teaching us how to serve ‘Guru’, even when he was physically unfit to render the services of his Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada). Once Srila Gurudeva’ s hand was shaking due to his advanced age (96-years old). Still, he wanted to continue his services, editing Gaudiya publications, a service he was given after taking initiation from his Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada. Due to his shaking problem, he was unable to understand his own handwriting. Once, I requested him to dictate what to write to me, then to check my writing later; but immediately he said, “This seva to write for Gaudiya publication is given by my Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada. If he was not telling me to dictate, then how can I give you the dictation! If I am unable to understand my handwriting, then it is better for me to stop my writings.” After such an expression, his eyes were full of tear and out of separation, again he expressed with a soft voice, “ Oh! Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada, now I am unable to do any seva for your mission; what is the use to be here with this useless body; please allow me to leave from here.”
I remember one more incident, it was 1993, and we used to stay at the Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math in Kolkata. Srila Gurudeva was 95-years old; I was his personal servant. At that time Srila Gurudeva was the editor of their monthly magazine publication, ‘Sri Chaitanya Vani’; it was the dateline for publishing of the magazine. In order to publish the magazine on time he was kept himself busy the whole night in order to edit the contents of the entire magazine. In order to prepare his bed I waited for him; but due to my laziness I slept on the floor in his room, then the sound of a bell for Mangal Arati woke me up, and I saw that he was still busy with the editing. I asked Srila Gurudeva, “when are you going to sleep”; then he replied, “let me finish this small part, it will take a few more minutes”. Then I told him it was time for Mangal Arati. Immediately, Srila Gurudeva said, “Oh! Now I have to chant my rounds; tonight there is no time for sleeping.” After that conversation, he got out his chanting beads and started to chant as usual t in the early morning.
Today I beg all the members of our lineage, please bestow your mercy on me to achieve such sincerity of my beloved Gurudeva’s services; also please bestow the same unto all devotees of Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math.
All Glories to Nitai & Gour.
An aspiring servant of Brahma Sampradaya (lineage).